Woman impaled by tree branch wins $12 million from Savannah

Attorney Howard Spiva and his client, Shente Greene, leave a Savannah City Council workshop in April 2012. Greene lost her right leg, part of her hip and suffered internal injuries when a tree limb from a city-maintained tree fell on a truck in which she was a passenger.

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A Savannah woman was awarded $12 million against the city of Savannah on Thursday for devastating injuries she suffered when a tree limb fell and impaled her in a truck.

The Chatham County State Court jury found in favor of Shanta Greene after day-long deliberations in the nine-day trial.

Attorney Howard Spiva told jurors his client “trusted the city to take care of our trees. ... If they had just done what they were supposed to do, they would have found it. … They didn’t check the tree.”

He contended the city’s Park and Tree Department knew or should have known of potential danger from the tree but did not respond properly, citing a 2007 incident in which the tree dropped a limb.

The jurors also awarded $20,000 to Greene’s cousin, Louis Anderson, who was driving, and $10,000 to his son, Xavier Anderson, 9, who was a passenger in the truck. Both suffered lesser injuries.

Greene, 31, was injured on July 2, 2010, when a tree limb fell and impaled her in the passenger seat of the pickup truck. She lost her right leg and pelvis and suffered an assortment of related physical injuries as well as a brain injury and is relegated to a wheelchair.

“There was significant evidence admitted at trial which we objected to,” Bret Bell, city spokesman, said Thursday night. “We believe we have reserved our right to appeal on many issues.”

Bell said that decision would be discussed by City Council.

According to Bell, the city’s litigation budget would not cover the total verdict, adding, “We would have to look at a variety of funding sources.”

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